Filing an Official Consumer Complaint about Your Car

Why File Your Complaint

The U.S. Department of Transportation encourages consumers to file an official complaint of record with them when the suspect safety issues with their model car. This information will be entered into National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) vehicle owner's complaint database and used with other complaints to determine if a safety-related defect trend exists.

Your complaint is important in determining if further action is needed to investigate the possibility of a recall.

How Your Complaint is Handled

  • If a safety-related defect is determined to exist by NHTSA in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment, the manufacturer must fix it at no cost to the owner. Your complaint is the first step in the process.

  • Government engineers analyze the problem. If warranted, the manufacturer is asked to conduct a recall. If the manufacturer does not initiate a recall, the government can order the manufacturer to initiate a recall.
     
  • There is not a specific number of complaints which need to be filed before a problem is investigated.

Steps to File Your Complaint

There are two ways you can file an official complaint about a model car with NHTSA.
  • FILE ON-LINE: You can file your official complaint directly on-line by clicking here.
  • FILE BY PHONE: Call the DOT Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236)  while a NHTSA representative will record your complaint and other pertinent information.

The Privacy Act of 1974 - Public Law 93-579

As Amended: The information that will be requested pursuant to the authority vested in the National Highway Traffic Safety Act and subsequent amendments. You are under no obligation to respond to this questionnaire. Your response maybe used to assist the NHTSA in determining whether a manufacturer should take appropriate action to correct a safety defect. If NHTSA proceeds with administration enforcement or litigation against a manufacturer, your response, or statistical summary thereof, may be used in support of the agency's action.

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